Thank you for contacting me about rights and protections now the UK has left the EU.
The Prime Minister has been clear from the outset of the negotiations that the UK will maintain high standards in the future and that there will be no race to the bottom. The UK is already ahead of the EU in a number of areas including social and environmental protections.
The UK, for instance, provided the right to paternity leave nearly twenty years ago. The EU only introduced it last year. We also offer a year of maternity leave of which 39 weeks are paid. The amount of paid leave stipulated by the EU is 14 weeks. The minimum level of remuneration in the UK is also significantly higher than on the continent: the minimum wage in this country is higher than in all but three EU member states.
In environmental affairs and animal welfare, the UK has also been a world leader. We have decreased carbon emissions by 42 per cent since 1990 which is almost double the EU average. The UK was the first major economy to place a legal obligation to seek zero net carbon emissions by 2050.
The Government is legislating to ban live animal exports – a policy that the UK was unable to pursue as an EU member state. The ivory ban being introduced in this country is one of the strictest in the world while the EU’s proposal is still only in a consultation stage. Veal crates were also banned in the UK 16 years before the EU.
While the UK will want to maintain high standards for workers, consumers and the environment, I do not believe that we need to follow EU rules in order to do so.
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